Sam Williams Honors Late Grandfather Hank Williams With Reimagined “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”

“I have always been hesitant to touch recording my grandfather’s songs, as there’s a sacredness to them. I wouldn’t want to do them injustice,” Sam Williams shared.

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on September 16, 2023

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Sam Williams; Photo Courtesy of Thomas Crabtree

Hank Williams is undoubtedly one of the most classic and iconic artists in country music. So anybody looking to cover his songs is subject to other people’s opinions. But, the late legend’s grandson, Sam Williams, has just proven that even the most untouchable songs can be reborn, as he is honoring the elder Williams’ legacy with a fresh release of the country classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.”

Williams dropped his rendition of the tune on Friday (Sept. 15) in honor of what would have been Hank’s upcoming 100th birthday, which falls on Sunday (Sept 17). His take on the tune differs from Hank’s in that its opening melody features moody odd chords, which leans more melancholy, in comparison to the elder star’s twang and fiddle-laced original. However, Williams keeps the integrity of his grandfather’s song intact due to uncanny similarities between the two’s vocals. 

Listen To Sam Williams’ Rendition Of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” Below

Did you ever see a robin weep / When leaves begin to die? / Like me, he’s lost the will to live / I’m so lonesome, I could cry,” Williams sings one verse of the thought-provoking lyrics alongside a soothing lullaby melody. 

“This Song Is So Special To Me In Many Ways”

In a press release, Williams shared his love of his grandfather’s song and also opened up about his reasons for bringing new life to the original. 

“This song is special to me in many ways. I have always been hesitant to touch recording my grandfather’s songs, as there’s a sacredness to them. I wouldn’t want to do them injustice,” he said. “‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ has always been one of my favorites of his catalog. The release coinciding with his centennial birthday is a bittersweet happy birthday gift to the man I never knew that everyone seems to know. It is a reclamation of my name, my destiny in my family’s legacy, and a statement to country music. History and homage, respect, and reinvention, tattered and stolen coattails; I am a most honorable mention.”

“[I] just felt like it was time for me to do one [of his songs] that I really felt connected to, and that’s one I feel connected to the most,” he also shared in a chat with PEOPLE.

Sam Williams "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" Cover Art
Sam Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” Cover Art

Hank died in 1953, which means Williams never got the opportunity to get to know him. If he were able to go back in time and meet the country pioneer, he says he “would like to go fishing with him.”

“He was from South Alabama in the 1900s. I’d like to see what he knows about fishing,” Williams reasons. “I’d like to tell him that I’m proud of him, and that it was sad to never get to know him, and that I named my son [Tennyson Hiram, 6] after him. He will always have a bloodline.”

Just as he’s proud of his grandfather, Williams hopes the feelings would be mutual. 

“I’d like him to tell me that he’s proud of me. I think that’s the most natural thing to say. You seek that from your parents and the people you look up to,” he says. “Coming from a family that I didn’t get to meet and everybody seems to know or feel like they know, that approval would be so validating.” 

Hank Williams 100th Birthday Celebration

In addition to his release, Williams will take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday (Sept. 16), debuting a live performance of the haunting rendition for lucky audience members. For those who miss out on Williams’ Opry performance, they can catch him on Sept. 21, when he performs at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as part of Hank’s 100th: A Concert in Celebration of Hank Williams, presented by Spotify. 

The show will include a diverse cast of artists, including Suzy Bogguss, Laura Cantrell, Della Mae, Rodney Crowell, Brennen Leigh, Delbert McClinton, Charlie McCoy, Chuck Mead, Wendy Moten, Sam Williams, and more to be announced.

Those set to take the stage will perform their interpretations of Hank’s most beloved classics. For more information on Hank’s 100th: A Concert in Celebration of Hank Williams, click HERE.

Fans can be sure to expect more from Williams soon, as his sophomore album is due in 2024. Take a listen to his version of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” in the clip above. 

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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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